Older workers hit hard by NC’s jobs crisis

Expiration of unemployment benefits would be devastating

The NC Justice Center has pulled together available information about unemployment in our state to create a profile of joblessness. The fact sheet, Older Workers: A Profile of Unemployment in North Carolina (PDF), shows the jobs crisis hitting hard workers 55 and older.

Despite being less likely than their younger counterparts to be unemployed, 56% of workers 55 and older who do lose their jobs are likely to experience long-term unemployment and exhaust unemployment benefits.

As their unemployment insurance runs out, older workers are having to spend down their retirement savings early. Unfortunately, these workers are less able to recover in time to have a secure retirement. Since the Great Recession began, six in ten households headed by a worker 55 or older have lost wealth.

Long-term joblessness is pushing more of North Carolina workers 55 and older into poverty (11.4% in 2010). Unemployment insurance has provided older workers with the critical support they need to stay out of poverty and not dip into their retirement savings.

Unfortunately, the extended federal unemployment benefits program will expire on December 31, 2011 unless Congress acts. In January 2012 alone, Almost 70 thousand North Carolinians would be affected by the expiration of extended unemployment insurance.